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Thank You Voters!

Thank You Voters!

Thursday, August 14, 2014/Categories: Public Notices

Voters gave SMART another significant nod of support, approving the millage increase by a 66 percent margin across the tri-county area. The millage increase to 1.0 mil will allow SMART to replace its aging buses and continue to serve the 75 participating communities. SMART provides Fixed Route, Connector and local Community Transit service in all of Macomb County, portions of Oakland and Wayne counties.  Since the first millage was placed on the ballot in 1995, these communities have been supportive of SMART and the need for the service in their community and the region.
 
“We are thrilled with the overall level of support from voters and their profound understanding on the importance of SMART bus service for those who are not able to drive and depend on us”, said John C. Hertel, general manager, “We will continue to provide this much-needed transit service for the region and utilize the additional funds to replace the fleet of buses as quickly as we can over the next three years.”
 
The SMART public transit millage was a renewal and increase from .59 mils to 1.0 mil.  This is the first tax increase for the authority since 2002.  The additional $27 million generated from the increase millage will be used to stabilize SMART’s budget and to purchase new buses to replace those that have exceeded 500,000 miles.  More than 80 percent of the buses have exceeded 500,000 miles with some reaching more that 700,000 miles.
 
Even with the increased millage, SMART still has the lowest millage rate in Michigan, yet serves the largest population and geographic area than the nine largest transit agencies in the state combined.
 
SMART provides 11 million rides annually with 70 percent of riders going to work.  Seniors and people with disabilities rode SMART 1.8 million times last year using the service for dialysis treatments, medical appointments and for grocery trips.  Since 2008, SMART has been dealing with declining revenues due to lower property values.  In 2009, with 24 percent less revenue from the millage, SMART took steps to cut expenses, wages and benefits as well as reduce costs and increase fares making $11 million in overall budget adjustments.
 
Serving since 1967, SMART is southeast Michigan’s only regional public transportation provider, offering convenient, reliable and safe transportation for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. SMART’s Fixed Route and small bus services connect people to employment and educational institutions, medical appointments and shopping centers. SMART is supported by federal and state funding, local contributions through a transit property tax millage from opt-in communities and bus fares. For routes and fare information, visit smartbus.org.

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